In Washington, D.C., The Hill reports that during the politically-charged confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for the Supreme Court, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) specifically asked Barrett about cases involving renewable fuel standard waivers, which give exemptions to requirements for a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into fuel.
Ernst, who has been an outspoken opponent of renewable fuel waivers, also asked about a recent court decision that vacated RFS waivers the EPA granted to oil refiners.
“They took the law that congress passed, they twisted it, and interpreted for the benefit of oil producers, and that harmed our Iowa farmers. I know, again, you cannot speak on how you would rule on these cases, especially those that could be pending before the supreme court, but tell me — how do agencies, how should they interpret the laws that are passed by Congress?” she asked.
Barrett responded: “When a court reviews whether an agency has exceeded its lawful authority, it goes to the statute that you, in Congress, enact, and interprets that statute, looks at the text, and tries to tell whether you’ve given the agency…leeway to adopt policies, and that leeway would be present if you had ambiguity in the statute that left the decision to the agency, but if the agency goes farther than the text that the statute permits, then it is the role of the court to say that that action was in conflict with the statute, and therefore illegal.”